“You Had Me At a Cup of Honey Lemon Tea…” // The Story of How We Met & Fell in Love {Part Two}

If you haven’t read part one of the story of how we met and fell in love, click here to get caught up on the story (because it’s not fun to read the end without all the build up! 😉 )

Last we left off in the story, we had finally exchanged numbers and I was flying back home to Southern California from Kansas City, holding onto the promise that I would see cute guy in early March.  I landed, immediately checked my phone and…no texts from him yet.  I told myself to chill out, act natural, and just take this as it goes.  Let him text me and communicate with me first, right?

The Long Distance Texting (Flirting) Stage

A couple days later, my “acting natural” (a.k.a. checking my phone like maybe every other hour to see if cute guy had texted me…let’s be real) paid off.  I had been given leadership over a virtual discipleship program (done over video conferencing), but since I’m not the most tech-savvy person, cute guy had been charged with helping me utilize this new video conferencing platform.  This meant we “had to” spend several hours talking on the phone and “testing” out the video conferencing with one another.  We did talk about the discipleship program!  But also just caught up on our days…and dropped clues and hints that we were interested in one another.

Now mind you, we had never texted, called, or communicated with one another apart from the weekends when we saw each other for the past nearly three years.  The fact that cute guy was consistently texting and communicating with me meant only one thing – he was definitely interested.  Eeeek!!

At this point in the story, I was in a swirl of emotions.  Every text, every phone call stirred up the fluttery feeling in my stomach, and all I could think about was this guy.  I was FALLING HARD.  Complete with a silly grin splashed across my face like 24/7.  Love really does make a goof out of even the most composed of people.

But I had seen some of my friends fall in love, dating guys who did not end up being good for them.  Among my closest circle of friends, I had asked them to promise me that whenever I started dating someone seriously, that they would ask me the good and the hard questions, to snap me into a bit of reality and cause me to continue to prayerfully consider the development of my relationship.

At this point, my friends kept their word.  I am eternally grateful for these women (you know who you are 😉 ) and the conversations that arose during that time.  Here I was, feeling the very real emotions of falling for someone, but then being asked really important questions that helped me refine and process exactly why I liked this guy.  Why did I like him?  What about him was attractive to me?  Could I see a future with him?  Did I know what his calling was in his life from the Lord?  How was my character, my dreams, and my calling going to complement his (and vice versa)?

We continued talking until cute guy got to Korea.  After that, although we were able to text one another, we did not communicate as often.  Funny how I had such certainty a couple of weeks before, but as our communication started to dwindle, I began to wonder if this was going anywhere, if he was still interested in me, etc. etc.

After over a week or two of silence, I received a text on my birthday, telling me he had a gift for me!  Then, he sent me a link to a YouTube video.  Here I was all excited, and then…all I get is a link to a video.  I was beginning to wonder if he had sent me one of those ridiculous happy birthday videos (you know the ones with random animals popping up and singing the Chipmunks version of the “Happy Birthday” song?).  He told me only I could see it, to never show anyone, and to never mention this present to anyone…ever (don’t worry, I got his permission to share this bit on the blog 🙂 ).

I clicked on the link, and there was cute guy, camera facing him with a guitar in his hands.  He started to sing, and I realized this was a song I had never heard before.  WAIT A MINUTE…had cute guy written this song for me?!  It literally melted my heart.  I now had no doubt whatsoever as to whether this guy was interested in me or not.  Here he was, clearly somewhat nervous, but singing his heart out, professing his love.  I know…I know…the whole thing was cheesier than nacho cheese but it was a love song written to me and for me!  Besides who doesn’t like nachos and cheese?!

FINALLY!  The First “Date”…

Upon thanking cute guy for this ever so sweet gift, he noted that he would be flying into California for almost a week in early March.  He was going to rent a car and pick me up the Saturday after his arrival, so I was to pick the location for where we would go (ON OUR FIRST DATE).  Okay, he didn’t mention that parenthetical part.  But I knew this had to be it.  The DTR (you know, Define the Relationship) moment.  I used to roll my eyes at all the girls around me who would gush about having a DTR with some guy, but I realized one thing from all this – never judge another’s relationship because wait until you get into one.  Haha!  The tables somehow always turn around, my friend.

I picked the Huntington Library & Gardens as I knew it would be the perfect place to look around at the artwork and gardens (if it got awkward at any point), but we could also find a nice shady place to talk.  I picked out the perfect outfit and counted down the days until “our first date.”

Saturday, March 8th FINALLY rolls around.  The doorbell rings, I open the door, and there stands cute guy.  CUTE GUY IS ON MY DOORSTEP, PEOPLE.  I step outside, walk about five steps behind him, and BAM!  I scream as I slip on the puddle that has formed on the sidewalk (stupid jammed sprinklers) and land on my hands in the crab-walk position from elementary school P.E. class.

Typical.  Just typical.  There goes all chance of looking graceful and elegant in front of cute guy.  He hurriedly turns around, asks if I’m okay, and helps me up.  Well looking on the bright side, the guy would at least know what he was getting from me (I’m a bit of a klutz).

We grab some In-n-Out, find a beautiful street outside the Huntington to munch on our burgers, and head inside.  We start walking around the gardens (mind you, there are either only couples or families with cute kids there…we’re starting to really look like the awkward two people on a first date).  We make small talk about his trip to Korea and my work, etc. etc.  No DTR yet.  Okay.  I had told myself that I would not be the first to bring it up.  He would have to initiate that conversation.

We end up wandering through the galleries inside the building.  Still no confession of love or desire to date one another.  We were both just that fascinated with 19th century European art.

We finally end up at a bench in an open field.  Cute guy finally asks, “So…aren’t you curious as to why I am in Southern California and why we are here today?”

Okay, he spoke first.  I can answer that, to which I said, “Yes!  Yes.  Why are you here and why are we here?”

I literally saw cute guy take a deep breath, and then he began to talk.  He shared his heart – that he liked me – explaining why he liked me and for how long he had liked me.  He spoke of the last several months leading up to this day, how he had prayed about me.  He did not want us to date one another “because we felt like God told us to,” but that we would both make the choice for ourselves, knowing that the Lord would give us peace if this was within His good and pleasing will.  Thus, he also did not want to date “just for fun.”  He wanted both of us to approach this with the knowledge that we were looking at this becoming a long-term relationship.

At this point, he asked me what I thought.  I was processing everything he was saying, but it felt like a dream.  I could not believe this was finally, actually happening.  All I could say was, “Yes.”  I couldn’t even coherently tell him what I thought and my own thought/prayer process leading up to this day.  All I could think and say was, “Yes.”

He then shared about his life before meeting the Lord, and although I knew most of it, he wanted to tell me himself.  He wanted me to know the man he was before Jesus, and the man he was becoming as he did his best to live for Jesus.  He put all of his cards on the table, baring his soul for me to see it all.  It only served to make me more confident in my answer.  “Yes.  The answer is yes.  100% yes.”

Putting the Pieces Together

Over the course of the next several days and weeks, we began to put together the pieces as to when we each started liking the other.  I shared with him an abbreviated version of part one of this story.  When I asked him when he started liking me, he simply said, “the day you made me honey lemon tea.”  I looked at him in amazement.  “All it took was a cup of tea?!”  He laughed, saying that although it had been building up over the weeks, he finally saw the true me during that time.  Although I was the strong, leader-in-the-front woman, I was also the tender, servant who wanted others to feel warm and welcome.  That, he said, was the kind of woman he wanted to date and eventually marry.

I jokingly said, “So when are we going to get married?”  He, kind of serious, kind of with a glint of humor in his eye, said, “Why not the end of this year?”  “Are you joking?!  There’s no way we are going to get married this year…that’s like nine months from now!”  I exclaimed.  He laughed and said, “Okay, no worries.  We’ll just go with the flow…”

The Rest is History!

Lo and behold, after five months of long distance dating, we got engaged at the end of August in Korea.  As we were talking to our families about wedding plans, the best date that worked for everyone ended up being Saturday, December 20th.  Nine months after our first date.

My husband was right.

There’s now a part three to our story!  The last of this series…click here to read on. 

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4 thoughts on ““You Had Me At a Cup of Honey Lemon Tea…” // The Story of How We Met & Fell in Love {Part Two}

  1. Debra says:

    I think you struck gold with DooHwa, Stacey, but you already know that. What a charming, wonderful first date. I love hearing how much you anticipated a future together, even if you both were very careful and didn’t want to run ahead of your emotions. It’s still a whirlwind romance. 🙂

    Like

    • Stacey says:

      I definitely did strike gold, Debra! At some point, we want to “recreate” that first date when we get back to Southern California. The Huntington will forever have a special place in our hearts 🙂

      Like

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